Silences Around Things

It is the job of poetry to clean up our word-clogged reality by creating silences around things. ~Stephen Mallarme

I am posting my poem from yesterday a little self-consciously because it’s not finished but rough drafts are just stepping stones to published pieces.

Art Class

In the gray-green room
over the school cafeteria
you ask us to paint our gardens
At first there is just rich brown ochre
layered with a palette knife

revealing fingerling potatoes
pungent gloves of purple garlic
and feathery fronds of carrots

Stopping to marvel
at the depth of the earth
that springs from the canvas
you find you can

Pluck a heirloom tomato
drizzle it with
the first-pressing of olive oil
clean and clear
sprinkle it with coarse
sea salt and eat it
over the black and white

as the other students
many better artists
just stare with
brushes in hand
as the juice
runs down your chin

Writing Nag 2007

I just omitted one word, heritage.

Today, think about how your poem can create a silence for your readers. Will it be read again and again? Have you created a moment that the reader wants to experience again? Now get back to work!

The Writing Nag

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